The statute of limitations prohibits filing a personal injury claim after a certain amount of time has passed since the accident or injury occurred—two years is the most common limit, although it varies by state. However, there are times when the clock doesn't start counting down until well after the accident occurs. This is what you should know about filing a personal injury claim long after the injury.
When Injuries Are Repeated And Cumulative
There are times that the damage done to a body is actually cumulative in nature. For example, minor, repetitive brain injuries can build up into an unexpected problem that doesn't have a precise date of beginning. In addition, some brain injuries take years to fully manifest, and may even be hard to diagnose until after the victim's death. For example, the NFL has been under fire due to evidence that safety rules didn't properly protect former players from minor concussions that eventually developed into major brain issues. Similarly, the NHL has been accused of giving players false information about the long-term dangers of repeated brain trauma and promoting violent play that lead to injuries.
Major league players aren't the only people who have suffered injuries—minor league players, college players, and even high school athletes have suffered similar injuries without necessarily realizing the extent of their damage. If you've been diagnosed with brain trauma years after you played an aggressive sport, you may still have a viable case.
When Injuries Are Hidden And Discovery Is Delayed
There are times when a victim may not even realize that he or she was injured until well after the event. For example, if you were exposed to contaminated groundwater or soil due to the illegal dumping of hazardous waste, toxic mold, or manufacturing chemicals that are poisonous, the injuries to your nervous system may not show up until years later. In some cases, there may not be a clear understanding that certain chemicals are even hazardous to human health until medical reports begin to surface in different areas.
In the case of these kinds of personal injury claims, something called the "discovery rule" changes the start date of the clock on the statute of limitations. If you were sickened by a toxic chemical, the statute of limitations may not start until you know (or could be expected to know) that you were injured. For example, a diagnosis of certain rare types of cancer, like mesothelioma, which is associated with asbestos exposure, might start the clock.
When The Law Allows For An Extended Statute Of Limitations
There are a few times that the law is designed to protect those who may not be able to protect themselves. For example, if someone was injured prior to age 18, the statute of limitations doesn't start counting until their 18th birthday. That gives them the opportunity to pursue a claim for themselves as an adult.
Similarly, victims of childhood sexual abuse are often considered to be in a special category. The emotional and psychological trauma often causes victims to repress memories of abuse. Many states have special statutes of limitation for these victims. For example, Connecticut gives victims 30 years from the age of majority to pursue a claim. If you were victimized as a child, don't assume that you can't file a personal injury claim until after you've spoken to an attorney, like Dunnigan & Messier P.C.
Have you recently been let go from your job? Do you feel that the termination was illegal in any way? It is time for you to stand up to unfair employment practices by your former employer. An employment attorney helped me get through an impossible time more easily. I had no idea how serious the repercussions for terminating my position could be for the company, nor did I know how much the company would owe me for doing so. Thankfully, the attorney took the time to answer each and every question that I had and discussed all of my options. I have included much of what I learned on my website to help others learn what they could be owed if they were unlawfully terminated from their jobs.